Nfl Week 8

October 27, 2002|By Chicago Tribune

Seattle (1-5) at Dallas (3-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

TV: Ch. 5.

Line: Cowboys by 2 1/2 .

Key stat: Seattle coach Mike Holmgren has a 1-5 team for the first time in 11 seasons as a head coach.

Worth watching: Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith needs just 93 yards - which would be his season high - to break Walter Payton's NFL career rushing record.

Outlook: This is likely Smith's only chance to get Payton's record at home, and Cowboys may be determined to do it. They couldn't have picked a better opponent - the Seahawks can't stop the run or the pass.

Detroit (2-4) at Buffalo (4-3)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Bills by 7 1/2 .

Key stat: It's Buffalo's No. 3 offense vs. Detroit's No. 28 defense.

Worth watching: Bills RB Travis Henry (4.8 yards per carry) is going for his third straight 100-yard rushing game. Lions RB James Stewart's 172-yard day vs. the Bears boosted his average per carry to 4.9 yards.

Outlook: Young Lions are 0-3 on the road this year, and the Bills have too tough an offense. Drew Bledsoe and Henry could both be in for big days.

Oakland (4-2) at Kansas City (3-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Raiders by 2 1/2 .

Key stat: Average score of a Chiefs game this season: Opponent 34, Chiefs 31.

Worth watching: The hot quarterbacks: Raiders' Rich Gannon has thrown 14 TD passes vs. six interceptions; the Chiefs' Trent Green has 15 TD passes, eight interceptions.

Outlook: Despite fireworks from Green and RB Priest Holmes, the Chiefs have learned that teams can't win by counting on outscoring the opponent. The Raiders can name the score - their points, anyway - as they try to extend their winning streak vs. Chiefs to six.

Cleveland (3-4) at N.Y. Jets (2-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Jets by 3.

Key stat: It's Browns' No. 20 offense vs. Jets' No. 31 defense.

Worth watching: New Jets starting QB Chad Pennington has competed 68 percent of his passes, with three TD passes and three interceptions. Browns QB Tim Couch has thrown five TD passes vs. six interceptions.

Outlook: Pennington has made the Jets instantly competitive. And with RB Curtis Martin getting healthy, the Jets can score. They should be able to continue their rebound against an erratic Browns team.

Tampa Bay (5-2) at Carolina (3-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Buccaneers by 7.

Key stat: Panthers have been outscored 77-40 in four-game losing streak.

Worth watching: Bucs LB Derrick Brooks is just one short of NFL record for TDs off turnovers (five). Panthers rookie DE Julius Peppers leads the NFL with seven sacks.

Outlook: The Bucs' defense, which has allowed only six TDs, is No. 1 in the NFL; the Panthers defense is No. 4. The Bucs are going with second-string QB Rob Johnson; the Panthers may have to go with third-string rookie Randy Fasani. Touchdowns will be hard to come by.

Atlanta (3-3) at New Orleans (6-1)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Saints by 4.

Key stat: Saints have won three of the past four meetings.

Worth watching: QBs Michael Vick (139 passes without an interception) and Aaron Brooks (league-leading 16 TD passes) meet for the first time as starters.

Outlook: Vick and Brooks are cousins, and the Saints' Brooks was a mentor for Vick when they were growing up together in Virginia. Vick may have the better career eventually, but Brooks plays on the better team now.

Tennessee (2-4) at Cincinnati (0-6)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Titans by 5 1/2 .

Key stat: Bengals have scored more than seven points only once all season.

Worth watching: Titans DE Kevin Carter is second in NFL with six sacks. In his past two games vs. the Titans, Bengals RB Corey Dillon has averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

Outlook: Bengals are well on the way to the first pick in the draft. If Titans keep it simple, they'll pick up an easy win.

Chicago (2-4) at Minnesota (1-5)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Vikings by 1.

Key stat: It's Vikings' No. 4 offense vs. Bears' No. 27 defense.

Worth watching: WR Marty Booker had eight of his 38 catches in the season opener vs. the Vikings. Minnesota's Randy Moss had six of his 40 catches in the same game.

Outlook: The Bears have allowed a gaudy 30 points per game in their four-game losing streak. The Vikings have struggled on offense, but the Bears likely won't be able to score enough to win this one.

Arizona (4-2) at San Francisco (4-2)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

TV: Ch. 45.

Line: 49ers by 8.

Key stat: Teams are tied for second in NFL with turnover differential of plus-6.

Worth watching: RB Garrison Hearst is averaging 5.3 yards per carry for 49ers. RB Thomas Jones is averaging 4.2 for Cardinals.

Outlook: Who would have thought their first meeting as NFC West rivals would be for first place? Dave McGinnis has the Cardinals playing tough, but the 49ers will be tougher at home.

Denver (5-2) at New England (3-3)

Time: 4:15 p.m. today.

TV: Chs. 13, 9.

Line: Patriots by 3.

Key stat: Patriots have been outscored 75-37 in their three-game losing streak.

Worth watching: QB Tom Brady has thrown only five TD passes vs. seven interceptions during the Patriots' skid. For the season, Broncos QB Brian Griese has thrown 12 TD passes vs. eight interceptions.

Outlook: The Patriots are playing like they did in the first half of last season, which is to say not like a Super Bowl championship team. Will a week off help New England shake out of its funk? It might be tough against a solid Broncos team.

Houston (1-5) at Jacksonville (3-3)

Time: 4:15 p.m. today.

Line: Jaguars by 10 1/2 .

Key stat: Texans are 32nd in offense, ninth in defense.

Worth watching: Texans WR Corey Bradford has 20 receptions, five for TDs. WR Jimmy Smith leads Jaguars with 29 catches, but has only one TD.

Outlook: Smith has complained about not getting the ball enough, so that could change today. Until the Texans find some stability in their offensive line, their problems scoring won't change.

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